Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
ELAICHE GAJA

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

       This buttery cookie bears some resemblances to Scottish shortbread. To the basic recipe, try one of the following additions: cup (25 g) ground pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios or walnuts or 3 table spoons (45 ml) puree of dried mango, apples, cherries or papaya.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 15 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Makes: 2 dozen small bars

1 cup (240 ml) unsalted butter, at room temperature,
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed cardamom seeds or
       2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh ginger paste
cup (110 g) superfine sugar or jaggery
2 cups (300 g) unbleached white flour
cup (85 g) fine semolina (pasta flour)
teaspoon (1 ml) salt
teaspoon (1 ml) baking powder

1.    Preheat the oven to 250 F (120 C). Cream the butter and cardamom or ginger in a mixing bowl, then gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. (If you are using a dried fruit puree, work it into the sugar-butter mixture). Combine the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder on a sheet of waxed paper and mix well. (If you are using nuts, add them to the dry ingredients). Add the dry mixture to the butter and work with your hands until thoroughly blended into a dough. Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in an electric mixer, and with a dough hook, mix on low speed until thoroughly blended.
2.    Press into an 8 * 10 –inch (20-25 cm) rectangle on an un greased baking tray. Score the surface to make 24 cookies, and prick the surface with fork tines qt 1-inch (2.5 cm) intervals. Bake for about 1 hour or until pale gold but not brown. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Carefully cut again over the scored markings. (If you want to sprinkle the surface with sugar, do it as soon as it comes out of the oven).